Summary: Chapter Thirteen 

At the Shaw’s home, Bev changes the dressings on David’s burns, which reminds him of how she cared for the goat at the clinic. David then speaks to Bev about Lucy’s risk of pregnancy and venereal diseases, but Bev says he should speak to Lucy about these matters. In the wake of the crimes, David now feels in shock, old, and despondent, though knows he can’t expect help from Lucy. Back at Lucy’s farm, David and Lucy see the corpses of the dogs and find Katy skulking in the distance. As police ask questions, Lucy sticks to facts about the break-in and burglary, mentioning nothing about her rape. David thinks about being locked in the bathroom, how he couldn’t help Lucy, and how her secret is now part of his disgrace. 

Later, when Ettinger arrives, he remarks about Petrus being absent, now and during the attacks, saying there’s “not one of them you can trust.” David thinks of the three men laughing when they realize Lucy has decided not to report her rape, believing they’ve shamed her into silence. He later digs graves for the dogs, thinking how easy it must have been for them to shoot them in cages, and perhaps exhilarating, too. Lucy looks to move her bedroom into the pantry, but David has her take his room and then moves into her bedroom. David continues to question Lucy’s decisions and argues with her that she should tell the police about her rape. 

Summary: Chapter Fourteen

David repairs parts of the house and considers fortifying it like Ettinger’s. Soon, Petrus returns with building materials. David questions Lucy about Petrus’s absence, which coincided with the crimes, but Lucy says she has no say in Petrus’s comings and goings. Lucy now holes up in the house and won’t go to the farmers’ market, so she instead suggests that David and Petrus go. There, Petrus does the work as David mostly sits and warms his hands. 

David ponders if Petrus knew in advance what the three men were planning, suspecting that, as part of a larger plan, Petrus would like to take over Lucy’s land and eventually, maybe even Ettinger’s. At first David decides not to bring up his concern, but does eventually confront Petrus, who is circumspect, saying little other than the police must find the culprits. David continues, though, stating that the crime involved more than just a robbery. He wants Petrus to understand and to use the word “violation.” As days proceed, David finds himself busy from dawn to dusk as he helps Petrus with farm work and volunteers with Bev. Lucy has trouble sleeping nights, and now sucks her thumb when she falls asleep during the day. David feels he’s now losing himself and thinks about resuming work on his Byron opera, which he sees as a symbolic way to bring Byron, his mistress, Teresa, and her humiliated husband back to life.

Summary: Chapter Fifteen

Petrus tethers two young sheep beside his stable all day. Both are to be killed for his party to celebrate his land transfer from Lucy, which was recently finalized. David tells Lucy he doesn’t believe that sheep have “properly individual lives,” but still, their bleating, and their lot in life, disturbs David and he momentarily untethers them to graze by the farm’s dam. He recalls Bev’s compassion for the wounded goat and wonders if he has to change and become like her. David also begins to walk Katy more. 

David asks Lucy about whether she has explored the possibility of being pregnant or contracting venereal diseases. She reminds him she is not a child and that she’s done all the tests she can and must now await the results. Later, at Petrus’s party, David and Lucy are the only whites. Petrus makes a joke that there are no more dogs and that he is no longer the “dog-man.” When Lucy gives Petrus and his wife a gift, Petrus calls Lucy their “benefactor,” a comment which upsets David. When Petrus then speaks of his wife’s impending birth of what’s to be their first child, he says they want a boy, so he can show his future sisters “how to behave.” 

Later, Lucy wants to leave the party when she sees that youngest of the three men that raped her is there. David confronts him, to which the youth antagonistically replies, “Who are you?” Petrus speaks to the youth in Xhosa and is upset, thinking that David has caused trouble. After David and Lucy leave, Lucy convinces her father not to call the police, saying it would ruin Petrus’s night. David tells Lucy that she’s trying to make up for wrongs of the past by keeping silent, and then returns to party and watches in silence.

Analysis: Chapters Thirteen–Fifteen

Ettinger’s words speak to the ongoing racism and racial tensions in post-Apartheid South Africa. When Ettinger says, there’s “not one of them you can trust,” he shows the lingering divide between white people and Black people, as well as his we-versus-them mentality. While David’s suspicion of Petrus may be warranted—Petrus was absent during the attack, is tight-lipped about the crimes after his return, and says he’s hoping his wife births a boy who can show his future girls “how to behave”—David’s suspicions, and how he wants to deal with them as his anger grows, can be viewed as racist. The scene, just as Petrus has risen from being Lucy’s “dog-man” to a co-owner of the land, recalls how David largely is averse to change, this time amid rapidly shifting racial dynamics in the country, where white people have lost much of the power they once had over Black people. Later, the young Black man at Petrus’s party challenges David’s, and by extension, Lucy’s, right as a white person to live and own land in the Eastern Cape when he asks, “Who are you?” When Petrus fails to truly confront the youth who raped Lucy, and when Lucy refuses to call the police, David returns to the party. His move can be seen as defending his daughter but can also be viewed as a racially motivated attempt to reassert authority.  

Despite David’s desire to comfort and help Lucy, he fails to understand why she won’t tell the police about her rape and repeatedly questions her decision. In his mind, she is trying to make up for crimes committed to Black people by white people in the past, or even deliver a message to him about how women suffer. His explanations-slash-accusations again reveal how self-centered he can be, how ignorant he is about women’s issues, and how patronizing he can be toward women. It was Lucy and not David, after all, who was raped, and Lucy needs to remind him that it is her right to decide how she handles things moving forward. Still, some of David’s moves show understanding: He works tirelessly on Lucy’s farm to give her time to process the attack, and swaps bedrooms with her so she can process the rape away from the scene of the crime. Lucy’s failure to eat or sleep well at night, along with her thumb sucking during the day, shows how deeply she’s been wounded, and just how much she needs to process.

That David is so unsettled by the tethering and bleating of the sheep is telling. Even with all his resistance to change, he has in fact been evolving, however slowly. The man who once joked to Bev that he eats animals and thus likes parts of them now sympathizes with the sheep’s lot in life. The man who was once cynical about Bev’s efforts to help and comfort animals now wonders to himself if he must change like her. It’s likely the empathy and compassion that he’s gained while volunteering at the animal clinic, and after Lucy’s rape, that lead David to untether the sheep so they can graze freely by the farm’s dam. Recognizing the sheep’s plight may also help David better understand some of his past actions concerning women. David considers how sheep exist to be used, which recalls a passage in Chapter One about Discreet Escorts and his thoughts that they, along with owning flats in Windsor Mansions, “in a sense . . . own Soraya too.”